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'Billboard' to rank top cell phone tunes
Music tracking magazine plans to list the most popular tunes in its Nov. 6 issue.
October 28, 2004: 7:20 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Cell phone users will soon be able to find out how popular their ringtones are as Billboard magazine begins ranking the customized mobile phone tunes.

The music magazine has been tracking top CD and record sales for decades.

The magazine said earlier this week that a new chart, known as the "Billboard Hot Ringtones Chart," will make its debut in the Nov. 6 issue as part of a new Digital Entertainment special section. It estimated cell phone ring tone sales at about $3 billion worldwide.

And similar to Billboard's charts for tracking CD and record sales, the new chart will reflect the "Top 20" polyphonic ringtone sales for each week, including song title, artist, previous week's position and number of weeks on the chart, the magazine said.

Billboard said the sales data will be compiled from ringtone distributors and wireless carriers representing more than 90 percent of the market, including Infospace Mobile, AG Interactive and Dwango Wireless.

The publication also said the "Hot Ringtones" chart is endorsed by the Wireless Association and the Mobile Entertainment Forum.

The mobile entertainment market, mostly for cell phone ringtones, is estimated at about $300 million annually in the United States, said Geoff Mayfield, director of charts at Billboard, who cited the number from mobile market research firm Consect.

The global market is worth about $3.1 billion, he added.

Mayfield said the industry could potentially generate plenty of revenue for music labels as more customers adapt to downloading popular music to their cell phones.

The "Hot Ringtones" chart will be compiled on a weekly basis, and Billboard's Mayfield told CNN/Money that Alicia Keys and Usher's 'My Boo' has scored the first No. 1 spot on the new chart this week.

The duet also took the stop spot on Billboard's singles chart. But Mayfield said the song was downloaded 97,000 times by cell phone users, more than three times downloaded on music sites such as Apple Inc.'s iTunes.  Top of page

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